Connoisseurs of gin make their way to Phoenix in April as the 5th Annual GinWorld sets up shop. During “Gin Week Phoenix” restaurants and bars around Phoenix and Scottsdale will host seminars, tastings and competitions from April 22nd-28th.
“Phoenix is the perfect location to bring our Gin Week festivities,” says Natasha Bahrami, founder of GinWorld and Gin Week events, which has roots in St. Louis, Missouri. “The people, the culture and let’s not forget the weather, are primed for exactly this type of event that celebrates the spirit and spectrum of gin while bringing people together in a fun and engaging environment.”
“Gin Week” kicks off at Bitters Bar in Scottsdale for the “Campari Loves Gin” competition. “Campari Loves Gin” is open to anybody 21 and over and bartenders must be working in a Phoenix area bar/restaurant. Four recipes must be submitted by April 15th on-line at http://ginworld.com/ and must use Campari and sponsored spirits and modifiers. Winning recipe entrants will be invited to the live cocktail competition on April 22nd. Cocktails will be judged on aroma, appearance, balance of ingredients and overall presentation.
Gin Week cocktail specials will be available at Bitters Bar, Blue Clover Distillery, Monroe Bar and Unexpected Art Gallery.
Gin Week ends on April 28th with a Gin Week Festival at Unexpected Art Gallery in downtown Phoenix. Over a 100 gins will be represented at the festival and attendees can check out educational seminars, meet with distillers and taste the gins. Guest will be able to enjoy the Bloody Mary Bar and Perfect Serve Gin Tonic Bar. Tickets for the festival are $55 and can be purchased on-line.
In Arizona we debate about who makes the best pizza, tacos, hot sauce and now coffee cocktails join the debate. Provision Coffee set the bar as they placed 5th in the “Coffee in Good Spirits” competition at the U.S. Coffee Championships. The Chandler coffee roaster was represented by Joel Cronenberg who was among baristas and roasters from around the country competing.
“We are so excited to be recognized in this category by such a prestigious organization,” says Dan Suh, co-founder of Provision Coffee. “The U.S. Coffee Championships brings together the best of the best in the coffee industry and we could not be more proud of Joel representing us among this talented group.”
The “Coffee in Good Spirits” competition gives baristas 10 minutes to create a cold and warm/hot coffee cocktails for judging. The Faema espresso machine must be used for one of the drinks.
The U.S. Coffee Championships were held in Kansas City in March and drew baristas and coffee roasters from around the country to compete. Categories included Barista, Brewer’s Cup, Cup Tasters and Coffee in Good Spirits.
Provision Coffee is a modern coffee roaster who is doing away with the rules of coffee-making and drinking. Suh and co-founder Lawrence Jarvey focus on making “really, really good” coffee while having fun at it. A variety of coffee beverages, Nitro Cold Brews, espresso & teas and coffee cocktails are served.
Provision Coffee is at 4501 N. 32nd St. Phoenix 85018 and with Palette Collective at 2100 S. Gilbert Rd. Chandler 85286. For more information check out their website.
A recent post announced the Arizona Tiki Oasis weekend, they have now added a kick-off happy hour Hula’s Modern Tiki in Scottsdale. The Tiki Time Happy Hour starts at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday April 11th. The public is welcome to join tiki fans who are calling Scottsdale and Hotel Valley Ho home for the weekend.
Guests will enjoy $6 Signature Tropical Cocktails, $6 Island- style starters and more until 6:00 p.m. It will be the first opportunity for guests to purchase Arizona Tiki Oasis collectible souvenirs and merchandise.
Tiki fans in Phoenix can take advantage of Hula’s Tiki Time Happy Hour at their location on 7th St. The Phoenix location is not hosting the event.
If you like loud DJ pumped music with your morning coffee, Bloody Mary or Mimosa there’s plenty of Phoenix restaurants that will keep the party going into the afternoon. The newest is served up CB Live at Desert Ridge Marketplace which kicked off their Om-Lit! brunch this past Sunday.
“We are so excited to launch OM-LIT! at CB Live. Phoenix has some of the best brunch weather in the country and with our amazing patio and a menu like the one we’ve created, we’re thrilled to start making a splash for breakfast, in addition to lunch and dinner.” said Ryan Handelsman, marketing and business director for CB Live.
The boozy breakfast starts every Sunday at 11 a.m. with a new breakfast menu along with Bottomless Mimosas and BYO Bloody Mary’s. The menu includes breakfast classics with inventive twists such as eggs benedict, fried chicken and waffles and omelettes. Healthy food options such as coconut oatmeal are available as well.
Throughout out brunch DJ Myth and DJ V-Easy pump out music from their turntables at the stage above the bar.
CB Live at Desert Ridge Marketplace is at 21001 N. Tatum Blvd. Phoenix 85050. For more information see their website.
For one weekend in April tiki culture takes over Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho when Arizona Tiki Oasis comes to town. The three-day Polynesian lifestyle event offers seminars, live music, art, cocktails and food April 12-14th. Tiki Oasis started in Palm Springs as a fund-raiser in 2000 before moving to San Diego.
“We are thrilled to introduce Tiki Oasis’ rich and varied history to Scottsdale travelers and locals. Hotel Valley Ho is the ideal location for the largest and longest-running Tiki festival in the world, as the property perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the 1950s that we celebrate through classic Tiki culture.” – Tiki Oasis / AZTO organizers Otto and Baby Doe Stroheim.
Arizona Tiki Oasis events
The Tiki-Tiki-Ho-Ho Luau will kick off the weekend around the OH pool with a traditional pig roast and poke bar. Over 60 international tiki artists will take part in a pop-up art show at the marketplace including Japan’s Mookie Sato and LA’s Josh Angle a.k.a Shag. A pool side fashion show from Fashion by Robert Black is also scheduled.
Over 20 seminars are planned with topics such as History of Tiki Culture in the Southwest and Tropical Drink Mixology. Authors Sven Kirsten, Beachbum Berry and Shannon Mustipher will also make appearances.
At night tiki torches will light up roof top parties and cocktail lounge styled dinners. In between seminars Tikiphiles can lounge around the pool sipping on fruity colorful drinks. Spa treatments will be available at the VH Spa and guests can explore the city with the hotel’s new Insider Mid-Century Tour of Scottsdale.
Tickets are sold a la carte with seminars starting at $10 to an evening hotel pass for $80. Limited tickets for the opening nights luau are $99 until April 12th.
Part of the proceeds from the weekend will go to the Arizona Preservation Foundation. For more information and to purchase tickets head to the website.
Celebrity chefs, food, wine and sunshine what could be better. Not much for five days in April when the 3rd annual Nirvana Food & Wine Festival returns to Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. The popular culinary event celebrates food, wine and cocktails with tastings, events, parties and dinners.
Making their return this year will be celebrity chefs Robert Irvine and Todd English along with Jose Garces. They will join local chefs Christopher Gross, Matt Carter, Scott Contant and host Beau MacMillan.
Two exiting new events have been added to this years calendar Wood, Wine & Wagyu and Nirvana After Party at Fat Ox. Below are all the details of all the events scheduled.
Wood, Wine & Wagyu
Hosted by Chef Beau MacMillan, David Rose and Jason Asher; presented by Woodford Reserve and ZD Wines
Wednesday, April 24, 7-10 p.m.; Paradise Views Patio & Lower Lawn; $225 plus tax per person
Nirvana 2019 will kick off with an intimate, sit-down, family-style dinner featuring Wagyu beef from Snake River Farms cooked over a wood fire by local and national chefs. The dinner also includes craft cocktails made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, specialty wines, a Davidoff cigar reception, and live entertainment.
Master of Taste Dinner 1
Hosted by legendary winemaker Tuck Beckstoffer and Top Chef Alum Bruce Kalman
Wednesday, April 24; 7-10 p.m.; Villa Mariposa; $350 plus tax per person; limited availability
The Master of Taste dinners are intimate culinary gatherings that pair top regional and local chefs with a notable winemaker. The first of four such evenings puts the spotlight on Napa’s Tuck Beckstoffer Wines with pioneering winemaker Tuck himself playing host. The dinner experience will be elevated by Sanctuary’s stunning valley views, seen through the dramatic glass walls of Villa Mariposa, one of Sanctuary’s ultra-exclusive private homes.
Bourbon Street Blues
Hosted by Food Network’s Marc Murphy and Dead Rabbit’s Jillian Vose
Thursday, April 25, 7-9 p.m.; Infinity Pool and Lawn; $135 plus tax per person
This grand New Orleans-style celebration returns for a second year, with guests encouraged to don Mardi Gras-inspired attire while mingling and noshing on an extraordinary spread of food and drinks. Live music will set the beat for guests to dance while the Valley’s top mixologists set the party vibe with inspired cocktail creations.
Master of Taste Dinner 2
Phenom winemaker Jesse Katz pairs up with Chef Dustin Valette
Thursday, April 25; 7-10 p.m.; Villa Mariposa; $350 plus tax per person; limited availability
Nirvana’s second winemaking evening features rising star Jesse Katz, innovative founder of Aperture Cellars from Alexander Valley, California, which focuses on Bordeaux varietals and demonstrates an expression of art both inside the bottle and out, and the highest-rating varietal from California, Devil Proof Vineyards.
Flutes & Coops
Hosted by Todd English and D Vincent Williams and the Nashville All-Stars; presented by Veuve Cliquot
Friday, April 26, 6:30-7:15 p.m. (VIP), 7:15-10 p.m. (general admission); The Views Ballroom, Paradise Views Patio and Lower Lawn; $225 plus tax VIP/ $150 plus tax GA per person
Fried chicken gets fancy during this Champagne-focused soiree, featuring Veuve Clicquot and some of the country’s biggest culinary talent. Festival-goers can book VIP admission to enjoy 45 minutes of personal time with their favorite participating chefs and mixologists including Bar Brawl’s Season 2 champion Kiefer Gilbert.
Master of Taste Dinner 3
Hosted by winemakers Dan Kosta and Rich Aurilia with Chef François de Melogue
Friday, April 26, 7-10 p.m.; Villa Mariposa; $500 plus tax per person; limited availability
Nirvana’s third Master of Taste Dinner brings together legendary winemaker Dan Kosta of AldenAlli (Sonoma, California) with former San Francisco Giants shortstop Rich Aurilia, now a partner in Red Stitch Wine Group (Napa Valley, California).
Nirvana After Party at Fat Ox
Chef host Matt Carter welcomes celebrity mixologist Jillian Vose, Jason Asher and Micah Olsen with top chef Bruce Kalman
Friday, April 26, 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; Fat Ox, 6316 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale; $125 plus tax per person
Nirvana’s first-ever late-night event will be an exclusive, roped-off, live-DJ affair at one of Scottsdale’s sexiest restaurants. Fat Ox chef Matt Carter and mixologist Jillian Vose, formerly of Sanctuary’s own jade bar and now owner of New York City’s hottest cocktail bar, The Dead Rabbit, will headline the see-and-be-seen party. Guests will rub shoulders with the best of Nirvana’s celebrity chefs and local mixologists, including Jason Asher, owner of Counter Intuitive and Undertow and former GQ Bombay Sapphire’s “most inspired bartender”.
Celebrity Golf Tournament
Hosted by The Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella
Saturday, April 27, 8 a.m. registration and 9 a.m. tee; Mountain Shadows; $$400 per player
Neighboring Mountain Shadows’ Short Course will play host to Nirvana’s hugely popular celebrity golf tournament, hosted by Matt Ginella of The Golf Channel’s Morning Drive. Famous faces from the worlds of sports, food and drink will pair up with foursomes for a day on the greens geared towards fun, including delectable small bites, a luncheon buffet and beverages.
Rosé Parté at Wrigley Mansion
Wrigley Mansion’s Chefs Christopher Gross and Jamie Hormel welcome celebrity chef Robert Irvine, Lindsay Autry, mixologist Libby Lingua, the Bella Twins and musical guests The Potash Twins
Saturday, April 27, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; Wrigley Mansion, 2501 E. Telawa Trail, Phoenix; $150 plus tax per person
The rosé-all-day trend continues with Rosé Parté, returning to Nirvana by popular demand, this time to Phoenix’s storied and elegant iconic mansion, Wrigley Mansion. Also returning to the Nirvana scene are The Bella Twins, Nikki and Brie Bella of WWE fame, stars of E! Network’s Total Bellas, and the inspiration behind Belle Radici wines. Guests will enjoy fabulous pairings of rosé and fine food while exploring the historic environs.
Best of the West
Hosted by Chef Scott Conant and celebrity mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim
Saturday, April 27, 6:30-7:15 p.m. (VIP), 7:15-10 p.m. (general admission); elements, Praying Monk, jade bar, Sunset Garden, Paradise Views Patio and Lower Lawn; $250 plus tax VIP/$175 plus tax GA per person
The West’s most beloved Arizona chefs will gather for an evening send-off, celebrating Nirvana 2019 with a spectacular walk-around tasting event and an incredible variety of wines. VIP attendees gain early access and extra time with the chefs.
Master of Taste Dinner 4
Hosted by Tim Martin of Tusk Wines
Saturday, April 27, 7-10 p.m.; Villa Mariposa; $500 plus tax per person; limited availability
Nirvana’s final Master of Taste Dinner spotlights winemaker Tim Martin, founder of Napa’s luxury wine brands Tusk Estates, Immortal Estate and Belle Radici. Tim joins Arizona legends Chuck Wiley, Mark Tarbell, Vincent Guerithault, and Alex Stratta for this amazing night of food, wine and special music guests.
Tequila & Tortillas
Hosted by Iron Chef Jose Garces and renowned artist Genero Garcia
Sunday, April 28, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; elements, Praying Monk, jade bar, Sunset Garden, Paradise Views Patio and Lower Lawn; $150 plus tax per person
¡Salud! Tequila is the star of Nirvana’s farewell brunch featuring Southwestern specialties and the best of the blue agave plant. Live music makes it a fiesta to remember as Nirvana bids adios to its 2019 showcase.
Diana Brandt a.k.a Arizona Foodie is looking to blow your mind with “Smoked”, her food event on March 23rd. Bringing together local chefs and creative cocktails she wants people to hang out and enjoy what the local culinary scene has to offer.
“I wanted to create an event that captures the quality and talent of the Arizona Food scene but also keep it very intimate,” says Brandt. “There’s something primal about cooking with fire and it’ll be really cool for the guests to interact with the Chefs and watch them as they prepare distinctive dishes. It’s going to be lit. You will be amazed how creative these Chefs will get. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!”
Chefs will be left to create whatever dishes they want as long as there is an element of smoke. Expect to taste dishes from these chefs scheduled to participate.
Matt Carter from The Mission, Zinc Bistro and Fat Ox
Stephen Jones from The Larder + The Delta
Aaron May from Malibu Burger, The Goodwood Tavern, The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen and Over Easy
Jason Alford of Bulthaup Az
Walter Sterling from Ocotillo
Alex Levine from Starlite BBQ
Adam Allison of Handlebar Diner
Chef Dell from Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
Chef Paulo from Obon Sushi Bar Ramen
Justine Dachel of Jewel’s Bakery and Cafe
Ketel One, Seagram’s, Bulleit, Johnnie Walker and Union Mezcal are sponsoring the event and guests will be able to sip on their creative cocktails in the Bulleit Smoked Lounge.
They won’t just be creating cocktails but their own brand experience. Wander over to the Seagram’s Airstream trailer with a photo booth and dry ice cocktails. Ketel One Botanicals will decorate their space with fresh flowers and guests can created their own smoked candles. Johnnie Walker and Union will create their own fun experiences too.
“I truly want the Smoked experience to be available to everyone. So I’m keeping this upscale event affordable so the ticket price doesn’t kill the budget,” says Brandt. “I’m hoping that this event will show many of the people that follow me how amazing our food scene is and get them out of their routines and into these restaurants.”
Colorful cocktails with tiny umbrellas and hula skirts will take over the space where Cowboy Ciao was when the Drunk Munk opens in March. The iconic Cowboy Ciao closed last year after 21 years. Owners Greg Donally, Andrew Nam and Scott Hane have experience with Scottsdale restaurants as they own Geisha A Go Go and have owned bars and restaurants including Drift Lounge in downtown Scottsdale.
“We are excited to bring something new and different like Drunk Munk to Scottsdale,” said co-owner Donnally. “The dishes on the menu will transport you across Asia and up the beaches of Mexico. Who knows, you could even see some old favorites from a former concept we had in Old Town, the well-known Drift Lounge.”
Drunk Munk eats
Tiki themed cocktails and dishes such as flaming pu pu platter, sushi along with Asian inspired small plates, salads and sandwiches will be served.
Happy hour will be offered everyday and brunch will be served on weekends. Brunch items will include Red Velvet waffles and a different style of Eggs Benedict and Bloody Mary’s.
The 4,600 square foot restaurant is currently under going renovations to a Polynesian theme. When finished it will accommodate 150 people in the main dining area and 50 on the patio. The Idol of Worship from Drift is known to bless guests with his presence will be at the Drunk Munk.
“We are grateful to have the chance at opening in such a stable restaurant location like Cowboy Ciao. To occupy a property owned by the Unger family, we truly feel the tiki gods have made this happen. Peter was so far ahead of his time in 1997 when it opened,” said Donnally.
The Drunk Munk will be at 7133 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251. For information visit their website.
When Little Rituals opened last week in downtown Phoenix it raised the bar for other hotel bars. Located on the 4th floor of the Courtyard by Marriott/Residence Inn the cocktail bar is the mastermind of mixologists Aaron Defeo and Ross Simon. DeFeo is no stranger to hotel bars as he was property mixologist at Tucson’s Casino del Sol Resort. Simon is the owner of downtown’s Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour.
The bar joins Broken Shaker ( Miami, L.A., Chicago & NYC) and Death Co. (NYC & Denver) to offer guests and locals a unique hotel bar experience. Open daily from 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. guests can expect 30 custom cocktails along with beer, wine and gourmet bites from consulting chef Bob Tam. Interesting touches at the independently owned bar include hand stamped ice, espresso martinis on tap and a pairing menu.
Preparation and education is key
What you don’t see is as important as what you see and sip on. DeFeo and Simon have created a culture of extensive staff training and drink preparation. Cocktails are made with house-made foams, infusions, garnishes, syrups and more. The menu focuses on the use of aromatic vermouth’s and sherry’s.
The cocktails are in 6 categories with 5 cocktails each.
Daily Rituals (Boilermakers, Siroco Spritz and a precisely-chilled, grapefruit-finished Session Martini)
Delicious Rituals (exciting flavor combinations such as the honey, citrus and curry-spiced Daiqurry)
Cooling Rituals (heat-busting combos such as the frothy Amalfi Frappe or the cucumber-y Touch of Evil)
Stirred & Silky Rituals (elegant twists on classics such as the sherry-spiked Cask of Amontillado)
Indulgent Rituals (complex flavors such as the Cartographer with overproof rum, cardamom and creole bitters)
Shared Rituals (ever-changing selection of punches, pitchers and the aforementioned Bubbles & Fries)
Apertivo hour is from 4-6 p.m. daily and offers discounted prices on a rotating list of cocktails, beer, wine and bites.
The bar bites menu offers 10 dishes including Beet Carpacio, Millionaire’s Bacon Board and Carbonara Lo Mein from the Hong Kong born chef Tam. Make sure you save room for the High Spirited Desserts.
The hotel is at 132 S. Central Ave. Phoenix 85004. 602-603-2050. Visit the website and their Facebook page for more information.
One of the “Best New Restaurants” in 2018 was Ghost Ranch which recently introduced a new lunch menu. The south Tempe restaurant opened in August and it’s not un-common for a restaurant to make changes to their menu. Seasonal availability of ingredients is one of the biggest reasons restaurant mix it up on a regular basis.
With then popularity of the local restaurant scene to keep people coming back you need to offer new and exciting dishes on a regular basis. New restaurants open daily around the Phoenix area and people can easily be distracted with the latest and greatest restaurant.
New lunch menu
The new lunch menu offers a variety of delicious meals for everybody and includes….
Torta—Chile Colorado braised pork, avocado, tomato, cabbage slaw, aioli, Noble Telera Bread and served with choice of Rancho Papas or side salad.
Tacos—Choice of protein (pork, steak or chicken), homemade tortillas, cabbage slaw, pico de gallo, red and green salsas. Served with rice and beans.
Enchiladas—Choice of pork, chicken or veggie with red or green sauce. Served with rice and beans.
Rice Bowl—Choice of pork, chicken or veggies, rice, beans, guacamole, pico de gallo and cotija.
Soup and Salad—Cup of Pumpkin Soup and ½ salad.
Ghost Ranch also mixed it up with their Happy Hour menu. Everyday from 3 – 6p.m. guests can enjoy selected $3 appetizers, $5 selected wines by the glass, cocktails and well drinks or $1 off beer.